Bangalore: After five straight years of rapid expansion, India’s biotechnology industry slowed to 20% growth in the year to March, down from more than 30% in the previous years, largely due to a rising rupee and price pressures in the global market.
The industry earned Rs10,273 crore, up from Rs8,541 crore in the fiscal year that ended in March 2007, according to an annual biotech industry survey conducted by industry body Association of Biotech Led Enterprises (ABLE) and trade journal BioSpectrum.
Since 56% of the industry’s earnings came from exports in 2007-08, the rupee gaining around 12% against the dollar impacted the growth momentum, the survey said.
However, investments at Rs2,750 crore showed an annual increase of more than 21%. Based on current trends, the survey forecasts that the industry will earn between $13 billion (Rs56,160 crore) and $16 billion by 2015.
“The inability to sustain the growth momentum can be attributed to several factors; the primary one being that revenues from Indian-made innovative biotech products that can be sold globally are yet to kick in,” said K.K. Narayanan, president of ABLE.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India Ltd, with revenues of Rs987 crore, emerged as the top biotech company by earnings for the third consecutive year, followed by Biocon Ltd, Panacea Biotec Ltd and Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd.
Among the sub-sectors, bioagri, which took off in 2005 and 2006, saw sluggish growth as genetically modified Bt cotton seeds, marketed by about two dozen companies, faced pricing pressures. Due to protests over such seeds, many state governments asked Bt cotton seed producers to slash the licence fee drastically.
The government approved 131 Bt cotton hybrids in 2007, compared with just 61 in 2006.
The cropping area under Bt cotton also grew, contributing largely to the 30% growth in the sub-sector, which touched revenues of Rs1,200 crore, the survey said. Maharashtra topped Bt cotton cultivation, followed by Andhra Pradesh.